Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Waitsfield, Vermont offers over 80 hands-on courses per year in design, construction, woodworking, and architectural craft and offers a variety of courses concentrating in sustainable design. Now in its 35th year, Yestermorrow is one of the only design/build schools in the country, teaching both design and construction skills. Our hands-on 1-day to 3-week workshops, certificate programs and semester programs are taught by top architects, builders, and craftspeople from across the country. For people of all ages and experience levels, from novice to professional.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Garden Updates on Ethicurean

Check out Kitchen/Garden Intern Stephanie Pierce's update on the Ethicurean blog about her experiences so far in the Yester-garden...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

YM Alum Guthrie Smith Shares Her Story

From 2007 Home Design/Build graduate Guthrie Smith:

"Ever since I was a child, I had planned to build a house. In 1975, pregnant with my first child, I built a log cabin in Huntington woods with my partner. Sixteen years later, when I was trying to move back to Vermont, I took the summer to build a cabin with my husband-to-be (I didn’t know it at the time) in Belvidere as a retreat for me and my four children. That same year I heard about Yestermorrow and wanted in the worst way to take a class there! I really never let go of that idea, and another sixteen years later, when it was time to build a REAL house, it was clear that the Home Design/Build class was finally going to happen for me.

I came to the class with enthusiasm, motivation to learn and do, and some bare-minimum skills in the building area. I left with a great house design and the ability to make designs, some more and better building skills, and some great ideas. The class was amazing – working all day and sometimes into the night with others, all of us focused on our own visions. I learned from everyone, not just the instructors. The most important thing I got from taking the class was the confidence and excitement to actually take what I had begun and make it into what would end up my home!

I waited many years for the right time to take this class, and as much as I looked forward to it, I could never have imagined it being quite as helpful and life-changing as it was! I was involved in every aspect of the design of the house, practicing my newly-acquired drafting skills, and tried my hand at as much as I felt able to do in the building process. During the year of building, I did some basic carpentry work, window and door trim, laid and cut tile. Now, among other things, I’m making some shelves and cabinets, a result of another great Yestermorrow class!"

Monday, May 25, 2009

Filipino Design/Build Project

Check out this great design/build project in the Phillipines led by Yestermorrow instructor and board member Kyle Bergman and his longtime friend and collaborator Jim Hubbell. This project is part of their ongoing Pacific Rim Parks project and has been a design/build process involving Filipino architecture students over the past month. There are lots more amazing images on their blog: The posts are chronological, so if you want to start at the beginning, go to the bottom of the page and scroll up.

A Hands-on Revolution- Financial Times feature

Financial Times- May 23, 2009
A Hands-on Revolution by Madeleine Johnson
A few years ago Jon Biehler took a life-changing bicycle ride through the US state of Maine. He happened upon a school – the Shelter Institute – which would eventually transform him from a teacher into an architect and builder, the sort of man able to put a roof over his own head.
“[I was] already interested in building a house for myself with good construction techniques and a very open feeling [and] I realised that Shelter Institute could give me the knowledge to either contract out or take on whatever portion of the work I wanted,” recalls Biehler, who is based in Germany. “A few summers later, I took their three-week post-and-beam course.”

Enchanted by the school’s surroundings, he bought a nearby plot of land, where he erected a pre-cut 20ft by 40ft post-and-beam structure, which he finished himself, while calling in professionals for wiring and plumbing. Within three summers he had a completed vacation house, garden shed and boat house. And now, after getting “invigorated” by his summer 2008 school project – a frame cabin – he has started work on a year-round retirement home.

Read more... (Yestermorrow story starts a few paragraphs down)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

New York Times Article Hits Home

The most emailed story from the New York Times today was "The Case for Working with Your Hands." Our changing economy is one force that is apparently helping the trades look more appealing than many office desk jobs, probably for the first time in several generations. I know that as a young "knowledge worker" I often craved a visible result or a tired body from my workday. This craving, combined with my desire to learn how to approach work in a way that leaves the world a better place rather than a more toxic place, is part of what drove me to the internship program at Yestermorrow.

It's an interesting article that resonated with me when I read it. Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

New Regenerative Design Course: June 28-July 3

The leading edge of the sustainable building movement is beginning to push the envelope beyond the greening of conventional buildings, into the territory of regenerative design and development -- the process of integrating buildings, communities, and their inhabitants as healthy contributors to the living places of which they are a part. This course begins with the practical essentials of building system integration -- the process required to achieve affordable and effective environmental design. Deeper technical system integration will also be addressed relating to the design of buildings that function as organisms -- net positive energy generators and clean water contributors (Living Buildings).

This new course, to be taught by three pioneers in the fields of sustainable, integrated, and regenerative design -- Bill Reed, John Boecker, and Joel Glanzberg -- will provide a rare opportunity to explore the design world's cutting edge with some of the field's pre-eminent practitioners. Course dates are June 28 to July 3. Click here to learn more about the Regenerative Design & Development course. To register, click here for online registration, email or call us at 888-496-5541.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Permaculture 101

From the great site:
Permaculture expert Penny Livingston-Stark shows how natural systems can teach us better design practices. Learning to work with the earth not only creates a healthier environment, it also nourishes the people who live in it.

Find more videos like this on Bioneers Community

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

May 2009 Newsletter Now Online

In this issue...
Student Profile: Mike Horgan
Upcoming Classes
Class Spotlight: Regenerative Design
Bike and Build
Fabric Formed Concrete Conference
Public Information Sessions in NYC and Philadelphia

Visit view the latest Yestermorrow e-newsletter.

Biophilic Design Book Wins Award

Yestermorrow Board member Stephen Kellert's recent book, "Biophilic Design: the Theory, Science and Practice of Bringing Buildings to Life" (John Wiley 2008) just won the 2008 American Publishers Award for Professional and Scholarly Excellence (the PROSE awards) in the Architecture and Urban Planning category. Congrats Stephen!